[Solved] Copy and pasting formats

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[Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby Ulowrite » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:35 pm

I am a certified MS Word specialist teaching myself Writer. It's quite a change, and I am coming up with plenty of questions for which I can't find answers in the documentation or on this forum. Here's the first:
In Word I have keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste formatting only. If my cursor is in a paragraph without selection, it copies the paragraph settings; with selections, the selected, formatting. In Writer, so far, I have only been able to create a shortcut for activating the format painter, which then gives me the bucket cursor, which must be mouse activated. Is there a way to co what I do in Word?
Last edited by Ulowrite on Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Copy and pasting formats

Postby eremmel » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:58 pm

AOO and LO are not an instant replacement of MSO as you have noticed. The power of AOO is its strength in consistent applied style concept. With AOO I hardly use direct formatting, but always Styles. I think it is possible to couple this to a keyboard short-cut.

Keep in mind that each program has it's own design / usage philosophy. With MSO you still find the different origins of excel/word/pp. It is more consistent with AOO. So you have to discover how to do things with AOO for the same result, but might need different concepts. I'm not aware of any documentation/books that approaches AOO this way.

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Re: Copy and pasting formats

Postby floris v » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:16 pm

+1 for eremmel's post. Styles are the way to go in OOo, unless your files are very simply structured. Even then you are better off using styles than direct formatting, for one because it's so much easier to keep your formatting consistent.

In OOo you should probably define a character style with the formatting you 'd otherwise want to copy/paste.
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Re: Copy and pasting formats

Postby Ulowrite » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:55 am

I appreciate your comments. I am fully on-board with styles. The formatting shortcut I mentioned actually does copy paragraph styles, not just local formatting. In any case, it's clearly not something available in OO. Oh, well.
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Re: Copy and pasting formats

Postby floris v » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:11 am

I just looked and in Tools - Customize - Keyboard tab, Category box select Styles (quite at the bottom), then you can assign any style to about any key you want.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby Bill » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:14 pm

There's a very old enhancement request for this feature:

Bug 70383 - Copy/Paste styles

This is about usability, not styles/direct formatting. While the icons on the Formatting toolbar are avoided by some OOo/AOO users because they apply direct formatting, the Format Paintbrush on the Standard toolbar copies and pastes styles as well as direct formatting. What's missing is a way to use this function using keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse.
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Re: Copy and pasting formats

Postby jrkrideau » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:20 pm

Ulowrite wrote:I appreciate your comments. I am fully on-board with styles. The formatting shortcut I mentioned actually does copy paragraph styles, not just local formatting. In any case, it's clearly not something available in OO. Oh, well.


"The formatting shortcut I mentioned actually does copy paragraph styles, not just local formatting."


But that is the point. There should not be any local formatting in an AOO document. All formatting should be done using Styles or tables. There should not be any user-entered tabs in an AOO document. It is a very different approach to that normally used with Word. If you need to italicize a work you use the text style emphasis or if you need something really unusual you simply create a new style and apply it.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby RoryOF » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:24 pm

For the record, floris v has published a useful list and description of the inbuilt Writer styles at
Tutorial: List of styles
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby Bill » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:34 pm

jrkrideau wrote:All formatting should be done using Styles or tables. There should not be any user-entered tabs in an AOO document.

I have to disagree about using tables. A high percentage of the documents I use contain several pages of tabular data. I learned long ago that tables in Writer are difficult to manage, increase document size and decrease speed. I just don't see any advantage to using tables in that situation. It's much easier and quicker to set up a paragraph style with tab stops instead of a table.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby Ulowrite » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:46 pm

Bill, above, has expressed clearly what I had intended to convey. Thank you, sir, and thanks to all.

A significant part of my work is cleaning up, styling, stabilizing, etc., disasters otherwise known as corporate proposal documents that have come in from multiple authors who haven't a clue about styles and therefore directly paste in material from all over the place, thereby creating (and sometimes corrupting) style lists as long as your leg when only 15, template-provided styles might be needed, not to mention obsessively inserting breaks, direct-formatting everything, and so forth. I use keyboard commands as much as I possibly can. Thus, my interest. Let's hope that some insightful developer will find a way in a future version. Meanwhile, I'll get about assigning shortcuts to a primary list of custom styles.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby acknak » Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:23 pm

My approach to doing such clean-up is to first discard all formatting from the source text, then re-format everything using styles. There's almost no need to "copy formatting" because the source formatting is (a) often unusable, and (b) easy to re-create using proper styles.

I usually work by first opening a document template. The template provides all the styles needed for the type of document I'm working on. Then I copy material from the source document and paste into my new document as unformatted text. Then I apply the styles to provide the formatting.

I also use Writer's Find & Replace a lot: a pattern search (regular expression) selects all the items I need to format, then apply a style to do the formatting.

With this approach, I'm not sure that keyboard shortcuts are all that useful, although I do use the built-in heading shortcuts (Ctr+1 = Heading 1, 2=H2, etc) quite often. I prefer to work with the style names because they're descriptive and I don't have to remember arbitrary shortcuts. The style name lists in the "Styles & Formatting" window can be awkward but once you get them sorted out, it's very quick to locate the style you need.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby Ulowrite » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:09 pm

Yes, indeed. Two items:
In word, Paste Unformatted text adopts the style of the paragraph to which it is pasted. I haven't worked with OO long enough to see if the same applies. If so, a variant approach is to first make sure that the receiving empty paragraph is the style desired. For example, if the source document has a series of bullets, my approach is style the receiving para to my bullet style, Alt+tab to the source doc, select (Ctrl+Shift+down arrow) and strip the source bullets (Alt+O, N, enter), copy the paragraphs (Ctrl+C), and paste unformatted ((Ctrl+Alt+V). Voila! a bulleted list, without having to remove any copied bullets, spaces, tabs, etc.

Second, a relevant tangent, is setting your styles with appropriate Next Paragraph styles. It can't cover every situation, but it helps. For instance,
the styles for graphic title > graphic > caption > text can automate a series of follow-ons.

One thing: In Word, there is a keyboard shortcut to toggle focus between the styles window and the document window (For styles without a shortcut. Can you tell I hate using the mouse?) I haven't found a way to do this in OO. Any ideas?
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby acknak » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:49 pm

Ulowrite wrote:... In word, Paste Unformatted text adopts the style of the paragraph to which it is pasted. I haven't worked with OO long enough to see if the same applies. ...

Same for Writer.

I think your approach will work, although the "next style" property does not rigidly apply that style to the following paragraph. It only takes effect when a new paragraph is created. After that, the style can be changed to something else and "next style" has no effect. Writer is sometimes "quirky" about what gets applied when you paste text, and (I think, maybe) working your way, you may find that some situations don't get the expected style applied. I prefer to stick to the insert text, select text, apply style pattern. That always works and minimizes surprises.

The rest I can't comment on. I prefer not to spend time configuring and I just stick to using the mouse when it isn't obvious how to do it by keyboard. My sense, from others' comments, is that Writer (and OOo in general) is far less keyboard-empowered than Word.

If I can generalize even further, I think you'll find that Writer resists aggressive streamlining for efficiency. MS has spent a lot of effort and money doing that sort of tweaking of the user interface and OOo has not. Even though I'm used to it, I still find it awkward and uncomfortable to work in Writer--too many things are just not well-tuned, and trying to tune it yourself is futile.

YMMV, of course.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby jrkrideau » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:49 pm

Bill wrote:
jrkrideau wrote:All formatting should be done using Styles or tables. There should not be any user-entered tabs in an AOO document.

I have to disagree about using tables. A high percentage of the documents I use contain several pages of tabular data. I learned long ago that tables in Writer are difficult to manage, increase document size and decrease speed. I just don't see any advantage to using tables in that situation. It's much easier and quicker to set up a paragraph style with tab stops instead of a table.


Ah, that may well be. I seldom have a table even as large as one page and so I find tables far more stable but for something like you describe I might have to reluctently ( :( ) agree. However so far I am more likely to set up the table in calc and import it. But with large tables who knows.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby jrkrideau » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:57 pm

Ulowrite wrote:Yes, indeed. Two items:

One thing: In Word, there is a keyboard shortcut to toggle focus between the styles window and the document window (For styles without a shortcut. Can you tell I hate using the mouse?) I haven't found a way to do this in OO. Any ideas?


I just open the Styles Window and dock it on the right side of the window so that it is always open. Then just set the window to applied styles and you have a ready reference list of all the Styles. To do this, IIRC you simply open the Styles Window and do a Cntl - click or double click in the grey area beside the icons at the top of the window. It may dock on the left. If like me, you prefer the right side, just drag and drop it.

I really don't like keyboard shortcuts so when editing some horror like you describe I just scroll through the default formatted text clicking on Styles.
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Re: [Solved] Copy and pasting formats

Postby kinora33 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:24 am

Assign shortcut key (eg ctrl+shift+C) to the Format Paintbrush function in Edit
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